You have to rise early to catch a hot air balloon flight, but the experience with Aoraki Balloon Safaris beats a sleep-in every time.
Imagine climbing aboard a wicker basket, lifting gently from the ground and floating high above the sprawling patchwork of the Canterbury Plains framed by snow-capped peaks of the Southern Alps.
It's serene, it's definitely romantic and it all begins as you make your way from your Methven accommodation to the meeting point in the centre of town, the overnight frost crackling beneath your feet under a canopy of stars.
Once the balloon has inflated it’s time to jump in, ready for the take-off, hands clenched firmly onto the wicker basket. The launch is so gentle and soft you hardly realise that you have left the ground. The most awe-inspiring sense of peace follows, not to mention the bird's eye views!
Methven village is a matchbox, the Canterbury Plains a rich tapestry of multi-coloured crops, Mount Hutt looms before you, the peaks of the Southern Alps and beyond, and the air is so fresh and clear that you want to stay up there forever...
Then you're back on the ground, champagne glass in hand, enjoying a buffet-style picnic breakfast with a silver tray bearing waiter at hand.
From inflating the balloon at the beginning of your adventure to the champagne breakfast that marks the end of your flight, hot air ballooning is a long-lasting memory.